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This page describes the pre-trial processes for civil cases begun by a Writ of Summons (Writ) and heard in the Magistrate’s Court (non-injury motor accident action and any action for personal injuries), the District Court and the General Division of the High Court.

Refer to Start a civil claim by Writ of Summons (simplified civil process) or Respond to a civil claim made by a Writ of Summons (simplified civil process) instead if either of the following applies to your case:

  • Civil cases begun by a Writ and heard in the Magistrate's Court (except non-injury motor accident action and any action for personal injuries).
  • Civil cases begun by a Writ and heard in the District Court where all parties consent to the application of the simplified civil process.

About summons for directions

In general, within 1 month after the close of pleadings, the party who filed the civil claim (the plaintiff) has to file a summons for directions. The summons for directions is then served on the party against whom the claim is made (the defendant).

Refer to the following to find out the steps to take for filing a summons for directions, depending on which court the case is heard.

In general, the summons for directions hearing is conducted asynchronously. This means the court may proceed to make orders or issue directions to parties based on the documents filed without the attendance of the parties unless the court directs otherwise.

Before filing the summons for directions

Before filing the summons for directions, parties should consult each other on:

  • Resolving the matter without trial, through negotiation or any alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes.
  • Proposed timelines and directions which they should attempt to agree on.
    • A party should complete and serve the Summons for Directions Timelines Form (Annex B1, State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020) and the Summons for Directions Single Joint Expert (SJE) Form (Annex B2, State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020) (if applicable) on the other party.
    • The other party has to complete their portion of the forms and respond substantively within 14 days from the date they receive the forms.
    • If the other party does not respond substantively within 14 days, the party who served the forms may proceed to file the summons for directions for the court’s determination and directions. The party will have to indicate the date and mode by which the forms were served in the summons for directions.

Filing the summons for directions

If you are the plaintiff, you should prepare the following before you file:

If the parties are able to agree on the proposed timelines and directions

You will also have to file a consent summons for the court’s determination and approval if the agreed timelines fall within the parameters set out in Annex B4, State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020.

If the agreed timelines exceed the parameters set out in Annex B4, State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020, you will have to file the duly completed Summons for Directions Timelines Form (Annex B1, State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020), stating the reasons for the proposed timelines, together with the consent summons.

If the parties are not able to agree on the proposed timelines and directions

If you are not able to agree on the proposed timelines and directions with the defendant, you will also have to file the following documents:

How to file

You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are representing yourself, you must file the documents through eLitigation at the LawNet and CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow the Rules of Court, the State Courts Practice Directions and the State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020 to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees for filing the summons for directions. You may also refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File a summons for directions

$20

(Optional) File an affidavit in support of the application

$1 per page, subject to a minimum fee of $10 per affidavit

After you file

The court may proceed to make orders or issue directions after reviewing the summons for directions along with the accompanying forms (if any).

Alternatively, the court may issue directions and schedule the summons for directions for a "paper " hearing via eLitigation. In this case, the court may direct parties to file written submissions, supplementary affidavits or documents supporting orders the parties wish to obtain at least 5 working days before the designated "paper " hearing date.

If the required papers are not filed by the stipulated deadline, the application may be struck out, dismissed or ruled against the defaulting party. After the hearing, parties will be notified of the court's directions or orders by way of a Registrar's Direction.

If you are the plaintiff, you should prepare the summons for directions in accordance with Form 44 of the Rules of Court before you file.

If you do not file or serve the summons for directions within 1 month after the close of pleadings, the defendant may do so or apply for an order to dismiss the action.

How to file

You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are representing yourself, you must file the documents through eLitigation at the LawNet and CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow the Rules of Court and the Supreme Court Practice Directions to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees for filing the summons for directions. You may also refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

Filing a summons for directions

  • (If your claim is up to $1 million) $100
  • (If your claim is more than $1 million) $200

After you file

After the summons for directions is filed and accepted by the court, you will need to serve the accepted summons on the defendant as soon as possible after it is issued.

The summons for directions is usually held as part of the pre-trial conferences (PTCs) for the case.

Orders and directions the court may make

The court may consider the appropriate orders or directions to prepare the case for trial after the summons for directions is filed. This may include, but not limited to, the following:

  • The timelines for parties to exchange affidavits of evidence-in-chief (AEIC) of all witnesses who will give evidence at the trial.
    • AEICs are the affidavits of the witnesses of each party stating the evidence to support their case. A party or witness may not be allowed by the court to give evidence at trial if their AEIC has not been exchanged.
    • The plaintiff will have to file a certificate prepared in accordance with Form 45A of the Rules of Court and signed by all parties involved in the case within 7 days after the exchange of the AEICs.
  • The number of witnesses each party requires.
    • These witnesses must be named in the summons for directions.
    • The court may also consider whether the evidence-in-chief of the witnesses specified should each be limited to a single affidavit.
  • The number of expert witnesses (experts).
    • An expert is a person with scientific, medical, technical or other specialised knowledge based on training, study or experience. They provide independent and unbiased opinions about the case based on their specialised knowledge.
    • The court may also consider whether the evidence-in-chief of each expert should be set out in a single affidavit.
  • Whether there is a need for the experts to discuss, identify and, where possible, reach an agreement on issues based on their individual reports prior to the exchange of their affidavits.
    • If the court finds there is a need for such a discussion, the court will specify the issues which the experts are to discuss.
  • The period within which objections to the contents of the affidavit or other evidence of a witness must be taken.
  • The number of days the trial may require.
  • The mode in which a witness will give their evidence-in-chief if a party is unable to obtain their AEIC.
    • The manner in which the evidence will be disclosed to the other parties involved prior to the trial may also be discussed.
  • The filing of interlocutory applications, if required.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Legislation associated with this topic includes Order 25 of the Rules of Court.

 

Refer to:
Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

2021/07/23

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